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I teach in Oregon City and online videochat. I work with all ages and levels and a variety of styles. I specialize in creative exploration, the psychology of music, and conscious music practices. Visit the lessons page to learn more.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

My new Strum & Sing group class

Over my career, I've taught a variety of group classes covering a range of topics from general blues-rock/jam to classical ensembles to music-theory-and-cognition. Most of my students were school-age kids.

Now, I'm starting a new adult-focused (but younger students welcome too) beginning Strum & Sing class. Here's the flyer:

A new, more flexible approach to beginning guitar

The focus of the class will be students keeping a good rhythm while playing simple chord progressions and singing songs. Depending on each student's preference, any option that works will be fine including power chords, single-note bass-lines, small bits of chords, open-tuned bar or slide chords, various strummable instruments, or even muted percussion strumming. This addresses one of the biggest challenges of a group class: how to work with both absolute beginners and more experienced students playing together.

Unlike the way most teachers do this, I'm going to focus on the flexibility of some basic music theory contexts. We'll learn songs using common letter counting such as 1, 4, 5 which could be A, D, E or C, F, G, and so on.

The main emphasis: that there's no one right way to play any song. We can adapt and adjust to fit what works for our level and context. So, we'll explore multiple approaches so that each student can find a comfortable way to fit with the group and learn to be flexible musicians going forward.

For those in Portland, contact me if interested in joining the class. For consideration of the pros and cons of classes versus private lessons (versus other learning approaches like watching online videos etc.), see my old article on comparing learning options.

The rest of this article gets into some initial thoughts about the folk-song / pop-song focus of this new class…

Monday, January 1, 2018

The 6 Parts of a Balanced Music Practice

Over my couple decades of teaching, I evolved a framework for balanced music practice. Recently, I've moved toward also modeling this balance within my lessons. It has six parts:
  1. Set up
  2. Warm up
  3. Repertoire
  4. New pieces
  5. Creativity
  6. Listening & Studying